This is a time when Canada must harness its community-driven resilience. We’re asking you to share examples of how Canadian communities are responding to the crisis with creativity and imagination. Collective problem-solving and collaboration will be instrumental in how Canada mitigates the local impacts of COVID-19 and creates on-the-ground solutions.

Highlighted Initiatives

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Initiatives

Business owners find creative ways to keep operations going despite storefront shutdowns

Employment | Food | General: Online communities and networks | Learning and education | Local businesses

Some of the adaptations include live streaming of fitness classes, online health consultations, preordered restaurant meals and home delivery of everything from beer to books. For many entrepreneurs, the changes aren’t just about business survival, but also keeping themselves and their employees busy and motivated during the coronavirus crisis.

First Book Canada launches campaign to deliver 1 million books to low-income families during COVID-19 pandemic

Arts and Culture | Fundraising and volunteering

Canadian publishers who have committed books to the program include Kids Can Press, Penguin Random House Canada, HarperCollins Canada, Breakwater Books, Simon & Schuster Canada and Inhabit Media. Donations are also being made by distributors like Raincoast Books and Publishers Group Canada and the Canadian Children’s Book Centre.

First Policy Response highlights best economic and social policy ideas in Canada

Policy leadership

First Policy Response is a project of the Ryerson Leadership Lab, the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, and Matthew Mendelsohn. The goal is to bring the Canadian policy community together to highlight the best economic and social policy ideas to keep us afloat and together.

Canada’s largest Muslim youth group offering help for seniors and vulnerable residents during COVID-19 pandemic

Children | Food | General: Online communities and networks

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association announced a nationwide Neighbourhood Helper campaign, with Muslim youth offering services to Canadians who need assistance with picking up groceries and filling prescriptions. The group says volunteers will also be there to provide overall moral support.

Kitchener-Waterloo Community Foundation announces $300,000 to support COVID-19 assistance to Waterloo Region charities

Fundraising and volunteering

$200,000 will be directed immediately to support the health and safety of charitable sector employees and volunteers working with our most vulnerable citizens. $100,000 is being used to establish the COVID-19 Charitable Recovery Fund at KWCF.

National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health releases COVID-19 precautions for multi-unit residential buildings

General: Sector resources | Housing and homelessness

The document synthesizes available evidence and guidance regarding COVID-19 precautions for multi-unit residential housing.

Fundraising in the Time of COVID-19: A Guide for Non-Profits

General: Sector resources | Local businesses

Developed by VITREO, an organization that has helped in fundraising and communications during recessions, the Fort McMurray wildfires, Calgary flood and now COVID-19.

Vancouver-based university creates website with links and resources for COVID-19

General: Sector resources | Learning and education | Mental health | Social isolation

SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue’s WeGotchu contains information and resources relating to income/jobs, housing, school, food, health and mobility.

City staff, school workers proposing ways to keep themselves busy and services functioning

Frontline services | Policy leadership | Public health

In Winnipeg, library and recreation centre employees, whose jobs have become temporarily obsolete in an unexpected pandemic, are stocking shelves for Winnipeg Harvest, or filling sandbags to save homes prone to spring flooding.

Leadership Emergency Arts Network (LEAN) helping Canadian professional non-profit arts organizations

Arts and Culture | General: Online communities and networks | General: Sector resources | Income support

This national initiative has over 100 advisers signed on: sector leaders including board members, current and former arts Executive Directors, consultants, etc. from every province and territory. For those who need help with strategic decision-making, crisis response, financial analysis, board direction, relationship mediation, HR management, systems change or inspirational leadership, they should email leanartscanada@gmail.com

Montreal public health authority promotes flatten.ca/aplatir.ca website to help track spread of COVID-19

Policy leadership | Public health

Montreal’s public health authority is asking citizens to participate in a web-based data-gathering project called flatten.ca, or aplatir.ca, designed to track COVID-19 cases to better understand how it is spreading in the city.

Complaints pour into COVID-19 tip line

Policy leadership | Public health

In just five days, Londoners have lodged 1,250 complaints about people and businesses not following provincial COVID-19 orders. About 70 per cent of complaints filed have been through email, the remainder by telephone.Rather than issuing fines, those phone calls have focussed on educating those who may not be following provincial rules.

City of London, ON closes streets/bridges to cars to give cyclists & pedestrians more space

Mobility and transportation | Parks and public space | Policy leadership

City officials say they want to make it easier for pedestrians to follow physical distancing guidelines of at least two metres from others. The city hopes closing some streets and bridges to cars will provide more space for people walking and biking at these locations. Parks, green spaces, trails and pathways remain open for walk-through only. The city says it will be actively monitoring outdoor spaces

Waived transit fares in Timmins inadvertently leads to surge in ridership

Mobility and transportation

“Despite a notable drop in overall ridership, we have experienced a recent surge in transit use by non-regular passengers which is likely a reflection of our current free fare structure and a lack of things to do and places to go given the closure of various community facilities and programs,” said Mark Jensen, the city’s director of community and development services.

City of Winnipeg to open its four active transportation routes for pedestrians & cyclists to allow physical distancing space

Mobility and transportation | Policy leadership

The City of Winnipeg is opening up its annual active transportation routes for pedestrians and cyclists, though the routes will be monitored to ensure Winnipeggers are practising physical distancing to fight the spread of COVID-19. Routes will limit vehicle traffic to one block from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day until May 3

Town of Stratford PEI celebrates 25th birthday through online Facebook event

General: Online communities and networks

An event page on the town’s Facebook page provided residents with a list of 25 ways to celebrate. Some of the suggestions included baking a birthday cake, decorating front windows with birthday messages and decorations, and writing a song, poem or fictional short story about Stratford.

Hamilton to convert rec centres into COVID-19 self-isolation shelters for homeless residents

Housing and homelessness | Policy leadership

The City is also working to ensure existing drop-in spots have the resources necessary to stay open. The new “backstop” self-isolation sites will only accept homeless residents who are referred by shelter officials, doctors or hospital authorities. That means the city will not publicly release the rec centre locations.

University tech business incubator launches #HACKTHECURVE to help develop solutions addressing COVID-19

Local businesses | Public health

Ryerson University’s DMZ created an online hackathon to facilitate the development of solutions to help address COVID-19. Over a two-week period, teams will develop a technology solution to help curb the virus’ spread. The winner of the challenge will receive $10,000 in cash and an expedited application for DMZ membership.

Toronto-based arts organization establishes Rent Relief Fund to provide artists with anonymous, one-time emergency grants towards their studio rent during COVID19

Arts and Culture | Income support

Akin is a Toronto-based arts organization that provides creative studio space as well as arts-based programming. The goal of the Fund is to provide short term financial aid in unexpected situations or times of financial instability.

Neighbourhood Information Post and partner agencies create Toronto Rent Bank Program

Housing and homelessness

Provides interest-free repayable loans to low-income households facing eviction due to short-term financial difficulties. NIP acts as the Central Administrative agency and local service access centre. NIP is responsible for processing all Rent Bank loans and repayments in Toronto, and providing local residents in the Downtown area with Rent Bank intake functions and a variety of housing-related services.

National League of Cities creates COVID-19 Local Action Tracker

Policy leadership

The National League of Cities and Bloomberg Philanthropies have teamed up to collect and share actions taken by local leaders in the US in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Iranian-Canadian organization moves Nowruz Festival online

Arts and Culture | General: Online communities and networks

The fourth annual Tirgan Nowruz Festival was moved online, with some programs shifted to a live or pre-recorded broadcast, and others rescheduled for a later date.

Free delivery matching service helping frontline medical professionals with groceries

Food | Frontline services | Fundraising and volunteering

Grocery Hero Canada matches volunteers across Canada with a medical professional in their neighbourhood by postal code.

C5 North East Community Hub and the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers launch laptop drive to connect marginalized Edmontonians during pandemic

Children | Frontline services | Social isolation

Donated laptops and tablets will help clients from five agencies, including the Mennonite Centre and the Terra Centre for teen parents and pregnant moms, to access programs, keep up on school work and stay in touch with family and friends.

Retail Council of Canada publishes checklist to help with retailers’ planning for COVID-19

General: Sector resources | Local businesses

The resource offers a checklists of steps for prevention and preparation.

Anishinaabe outdoor education school offering free online classes while schools are shut down

Children | Indigenous | Learning and education | Local businesses

Caleb Musgrave, owner and operator of Canadian Bushcraft, an outdoor education school, is offering free online classes while schools are shut down during COVID-19.

The DreamMind Group launches Operation Ramzieh initiative, assembling and delivering food boxes to seniors

Food | Local businesses | Seniors | Social isolation

The deliveries use vehicles provided by DreamMind and other companies, and the help of volunteers. Essential food and other items are being purchased by the team at cost.

60+ open innovation initiatives to address the coronavirus pandemic

General: Crowdsourced tools and resources

Luminary Labs is tracking open innovation programs — from challenges and hackathons to open data projects and open-source hardware — that seek to address COVID-19 and the virus that causes it.

“Shop in the Heart” is a COVID-19 response platform organized by the Downtown Edmonton BIA

Arts and Culture | Food | General: Online communities and networks

Site organized by the Edmonton Downtown Business Association showcasing downtown restaurants, retailers and other businesses who have found a way to deliver their goods and services to the people of Edmonton. Includes those businesses offering online classes or streamed services, gift cards, virtual appointments, equipment rental, delivery or curbside pickups and food specials such as custom meal boxes. Some businesses are offering deep discounts and specials during this time, or free items, donations & specials to first responders and hospital workers.

Program providing online social program for young adults with disabilities

General: Online communities and networks | Public health | Social isolation

Facilitation is being provided by the Everyday Friends Social Network program, created by Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre (MNJCC) in Toronto. The program, which was provided in-person before a state of emergency was declared and non-essential businesses were closed, provides daily programs for young adults living with disabilities between the ages of 16 and 29.

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